A Closer Look at Fulton Hospital Escape

9 years 11 months 3 weeks ago March 29, 2007 Mar 29, 2007 Thursday, March 29 2007 Thursday, March 29, 2007 7:37:37 PM CDT in News

On Thursday, KOMU became the first television station to gain access to the hospital in almost 25 years.

Bullard won't talk about his escape and authorities are trying to decide if he planned it. They believe he probably pried open a window in the minimum-security facility.

"We have reason to believe he exited the window, followed along the side of the building, and then went down into the corner where the chain link fence, again, connects to the buildings and basically got a toehold and exited over the chain link fence," explained Marty Martin, the hospital's chief operating officer.

Authorities think Bullard hid in a wooded area behind the hospital, where they said they searched on Tuesday.

"He had superficial scratches and had a few ticks on him," added Martin. "We believe he probably spent most of the day in the woods near our facility."

Searchers found Bullard walking down a road near the hospital. Although he was tired and hungry, they said he didn't resist them. Hospital officials put Bullard in an intermediate security facility after his capture Tuesday night. The hospital is also checking to see if he showed any signs before his escape.

"Our clinical director, our director of nursing and our director of social services are involved in a very intense look at making sure we didn't miss anything from a clinical and a process perspective," Martin said.

"Once we've gathered all that information, it will be sent to the prosecuting attorney along with a probable cause affidavit, requesting a warrant," said Bob Smith, Callaway County sheriff's investigator. "And then it comes to the decision of the prosecuting attorney and the courts whether or not he is competent enough to stand trial."

This is the fourth escape in the past six years at the Fulton State Hospital. Security officials bolted and welded the window shut where Bullard escaped. They said better fences and screens are two possible improvements to prevent future escapes. An outside investigator also reviewd the incident but hasn't released his findings yet.

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